Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today released a statement commending the U.S. House and Senate for working together into the weekend to reach consensus on important trade legislation before adjourning for the year.
“We are pleased that Members, led by champions of trade in both chambers, were able to set aside a number of differences to pass a robust tax and trade package this year. It would have been a shame to see all the hard work that took place over the year go down the drain over what were reconcilable differences,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch.
“Though a lot of unrelated measures were attached to the bill in the final days leading up to its approval, the package includes a number of policy priorities we’ve been pressing for. Primary among these was granting permanent normal trade relations to Vietnam. Without PNTR, Vietnam’s imminent accession to the WTO would have benefited all other WTO member nations, but perhaps not the United States. The U.S. and Vietnamese business communities and the many workers who stand to benefit from the trade pact definitely welcome Congressional approval of PNTR,” Reinsch continued.
The omnibus bill, approved by the House late Friday and early Saturday morning by the Senate, extends the Andean Trade Preferences Act for six months and the Generalized System of Preferences for two years. The legislation also extends important provisions of the African Growth Opportunity Act, providing beneficial treatment for apparel manufactured in developing nations until 2012.
“We’re now looking forward to next year and working with the new Congress to move forward on sound trade policy, including a number of matters left over from this year – ratifying trade agreements with Peru and Colombia, granting PNTR to Russia and remedying a broken visa system that undermines the United States’ competitiveness,” said Reinsch. “While the first hundred hours of the new Congress’ agenda will be full of important domestic issues, we will urge Congress to also get a jump start on trade legislation when the 110th session begins.”
Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years
The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in